What The Elder Scrolls VI can learn from The Witcher 3 | PCGamesN

What The Elder Scrolls VI can learn from The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3

The Elder Scrolls VI is set to be one of the biggest RPGs of the next generation. There are still millions of people playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as it is, so it’s unlikely that the next game in the fantasy-RPG series won’t be as popular, if not more so.

Of course, Skyrim is helped along by it being released on practically every electronic device ever made, not to mention the many mods that either improve it or make it much sillier than the team at Bethesda intended it to be. Who can forget the mod that turns all the dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine?

If you’re not an Elder Scrolls fan you can always try one of the other best RPGs on PC.

But wouldn’t it be great if we don't need to install mods to sharpen it up when The Elder Scrolls VI release date arrives? Bethesda has a reputation for releasing buggy games and ones that also rely too much on repetition. With that in mind, we decided to give Bethesda a helping hand, looking to the other massive RPG series and seeing what The Elder Scrolls VI could learn from it. Yes, we’re talking about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Proper relationships

thewitcher3.jpg

One of the highlights of The Witcher 3 is the intimate relationships you form with its cast. The combination of terrific dialogue and expressive gestures, discussion of complicated emotions, and the drastic consequences of your decisions make the characters feel alive. It helps that you carry a history with Yennefer, Dandelion, and Triss over all three Witcher games, their personalities fully developed into independent people recognisable by their passions, talents, and the mistakes they make.

Characters in Skyrim, however, are often voiced by the same few actors, and those you get closest to are your followers. This includes the likes of Lydia, Uthgerd, and Farkas, who mostly serve as an extra blade or bow at your side, and repeat the same voice lines as if they’re on a timer.

What we’d love to see The Elder Scrolls VI do is give us proper interactions with characters, let us get close and form a bond with them, not just have them carry our items or give us quests.

Rich landscapes

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

With the exception of Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls series has struggled to supply variation across its locations. Think of Oblivion and you’ll probably imagine stone cities and hilly grasslands. Skyrim is much the same except it’s covered in snow. Even the dungeons repeat the same textures and traps, and you’ll struggle to find a story within them to mix it up, unless that dungeon is tied to a larger quest.

The Witcher 3 showed us how an open world can be realised with not only a range of different environments, but unique cultures and stories to find within them. The vast city of Novigrad contrasts with the snowy mountains of Skellige, and little else in the game matches the eerie power of the smoking wastelands of Velen.

Beyond the broad strokes, The Witcher impresses on the micro level too, with each texture and natural formation in the environment made distinctive, from the authentic fields of flowers and rocky outcrops to populated huts and castles. Given that The Elder Scrolls VI will be launching on next-gen consoles that should mean Bethesda has more freedom to provide a world as rich as The Witcher 3’s.

Every quest matters  

The Witcher 3

Something as small as a missing frying pan is turned into an entertaining story in The Witcher 3. The reason being that the writers at CD Projekt Red understand that what’s important in an RPG quest isn’t the experience points it gives you but how it enriches the world and even the most minor characters within it. Most important is that you can tell as much thought has been put into the secondary quests in The Witcher 3 as has been put into the main ones.

But, in the Elder Scrolls, the glut of quests means that many of them fall into a dull template. You are often hunting down an item, clearing an area of monsters, or assassinating a character. It doesn’t help that many of the quest locations feel like (or actually are) copy-pasted from elsewhere in the game. The secondary quests in The Elder Scrolls are ‘painting by numbers’ whereas The Witcher 3’s feel literary and gives you new insight into its world.

Refined combat

The Witcher 3

Not everyone likes the combat in The Witcher 3 but there’s no denying the work that has been put into it by CD Projekt Red. Fighting as Geralt or Ciri is refined, with each swing of the sword slicing with finesse, the animations of Geralt dodging his enemies gives a sense of weight and peril to each encounter.

Combat in the Elder Scrolls series has a tendency to feel clumsy. Blades and blunt weapons pass through enemies with little friction and casting magic is displayed as nothing more than a fist opening. Part of this is due to Bethesda having to design everything for first-person and third-person perspectives, which puts limits on the animations.

What also doesn’t help is Bethesda’s focus on supplying lots of weapons whereas The Witcher 3 has only a handful of blades for you to worry about. Where you can better customise your loadout is with the magical signs witchers use to create space on the battlefield or ignite enemies. Even the pre-fight preparation helps to vary it up, as you must gather oils for your blades to fight certain beasts, and brew enough potions to help you take on tougher enemies.

The addition of blood splatters, dragon shouts, and slow-mo death scenes in Skyrim were significant improvements to an area the series has struggled with. So, hopefully, The Elder Scrolls VI will have its own share of upgrades. Bethesda should focus on refining the systems and animations, keeping the number of them small in the interest of quality, rather than trying to give as many combat options as possible.

Minigames

The Witcher 3: not short on pubs.

Some of the most popular Skyrim mods add tavern games. Then there are the forums in which people give each other challenges to complete within Skyrim’s world. This makes it pretty obvious that The Elder Scrolls is missing something: minigames.

The Witcher 3’s own minigame, Gwent, has proven popular enough to see it turned into a standalone game. It even has proper tournaments with players competing for thousands of dollars in prizes.

Bethesda has already created its own card game in The Elder Scrolls: Legends, so it would make sense to include it in some form in The Elder Scrolls VI - we all need some downtime. It worked for The Witcher 3 so there’s no reason why a card game with in-game tournaments couldn’t be part of The Elder Scrolls VI. Anything beyond a card game would also be appreciated as an additional pastime - The Witcher 3 had a brawling competition and horse races, for instance.

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RavenHawk avataratroll1993 avatarTomi832 avatarhfm avatar
hfm Avatar
315
2 Days ago

You are basically saying they should have made Enderal.

Enderal has nearly all these things. It has decent relationships with the important side characters. It has a rich and varied landscape. I won't got into detail and spoil the discovery of these for those that have not played it, but there are some cool areas to explore that are diverse. There are hardly any throwaway quests. They are all pretty meaningful or at least much richer than the annoying Radiant fodder. Combat is mostly the same but I do think that with the change in character skill/progression I felt like combat had more stakes and was more challenging. There's some cool minigames built into it that you can play, kind of like a lighter version of rolling up to a gwent table.

So yeah.. all the things you are looking for are installing Enderal onto Skyrim Classic. Trust me.. install it and give it like 20-30 hours.. It's much longer than this if you do a lot of exploring and side stuff like I do, but it's super refreshing and IMO if you're longing for what Morrowind gave us.. give it a shot.. There's so many little touches that are refreshing, even the way NPCs will break out of the normal dialog "interface" and walk around and lean on things or sit down while talking to you...

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RavenHawk Avatar
204
4 Days ago

I'd like to see them go back to a skill system like Morrowind. More diverse, but more importantly, what skills you have influence what you can do out in the world. It never made sense to me that, starting with oblivion someone with only the slightest glimmer of magical ability is able to become the archmage and so on.

In Morrowind you could join most guilds, sure. But without the appropriate skills you weren't going to advance beyond a certain rank.

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atroll1993 Avatar
1
4 Days ago

First of all if anyone needs to take lessons from anyone it is CD. Bethesda is literally the king of open world RPGs. Sure the game needs improvements but we get those with every single Elder Scrolls title and in big ways too. To me personally The Witcher 3 was a huge disappointment. Of course all games have flaws but in no way would I want the next Elder Scrolls to even slightly resmble The Witcher 3. I trust Bethesda to deliver an amazing well refined game. I mean after all they are the professionals.

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hfm Avatar
315
2 Days ago

They are definitely two different styles of open-world RPG. I love them both dearly, but that doesn't mean that Bethesda couldn't learn from some things CDPR are doing.

1. Seamless open world, no loading screens to go into an out of building. The fact that you can look out windows at the continuation of the world to progress around you from every dwelling bring a lot of immersion in the world. Those load screens just to enter a house are annoying.

2. super rich sidequests (see my Enderal post above). Those radiant quests are terrible. I wish they would dump that system and just add a few more crafted side quests.

3. Need more voice actors. Those same couple people voicing so many chars really breaks immersion.

4. Richer interactions with side chars. They kind of did this in Fallout 4 a little, but it could be much better and more intricate. Enderal does this better as well..

The things CDPR benefit from are that they are carrying a small set of iconic characters through multiple games in the series, so obviously CDPRs stuff is going to be much more cinematic in nature.

TES games benefit from being able to whip up a char of one of 10 different races and customize the looks of that char. But it kind of falls flat when the hooks of actually doing that don't have a large effect of the world or the chars around you. Maybe one person or two will mention you're a [insert race], But it doesn't go very far.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved all the TES games, I'm old enough to have played all of them when they were released. I've sunk so many hours into their games. I know TES 6 is going to be great and I'm going to dump another multi-hundred hours into it most likely, but that doesn't mean they can't do some things to increase the immersion and technical prowess in their games.

CDPR truly did raise a bar, though it's a slightly different type of game than TES games. I like both company's games quite a lot. I'm not going to say I don't see where they can improve though and still make something that is still a TES game at it's core.

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Tomi832 Avatar
3 Days ago

What?

Why did it dissapoint you.

And so what do you like, hunderds of dull and repetitive quests with the same formation and textures? Or maybe quality and good quests? That's just one example.

You have to be a complete fanboy to think that Skyrim's quests are better than TW3's, even my friend which is hyped for TES VI and played only a bit of TW2 and he said that only maybe he'll play TW3 said so.

Why can't the new one be good? Saying that CDPR are bad is non-sense actually.

I like both, but I think (and know) that TW3 is vastly Superior to Skyrim in so many ways that I think that TW3 is a better game overall.

The only point that I remember we could give to Skyrim is about playing again that you can play it multiple times with different characters.

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hfm Avatar
315
1 Day ago

That is true.. I have to admit as much as I played the Witcher 3 and as much as I think it might be a better total package (official content only.. see my gushing about Enderal above..) I have spent like 460 total hours in Skyrim and Skyrim:EE (not counting Enderal.. thats probably like 40-50 hours so far as well if you want to count it towards Skyrim Classic).. vs about 180 hours in Witcher 3. I played Skyrim twice.. once as Melee dual-wield.. then again as destruction mage.. I started again a 3rd time in EE doing Archery mostly.. but not sure I'll actually finish that. Currently playing Enderal.. and it's soooo goooood..

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